The Best Neighborhoods in New York, 2015

There are two hundred neighborhoods in New York (more or less). But we hear about the same few over and over. Don’t tell us Long Island City got expensive. Don’t tell us the South Bronx got a new bar. Don’t tell us East New York is the last frontier. We all know that. And there’s no such thing as a frontier.

Let’s compare the neighborhoods. All the neighborhoods. Metric by metric, toe to toe. Affordability, commute times, walkability, crime and open space. And see – all style sections aside – how they stack up.

The Best Neighborhoods in New York, 2015
I. Superlatives
II. Everybody Now
II. Basically Mike Bloomberg & Beyoncé
IV. The Best Places to Rent
V. The Best Places to Buy
VI. The Worst


I. Superlatives

Cheapest Rent
Eastchester, Bronx
Last year: Hunts Point, Bronx

Cheapest to Buy
Port Richmond, Staten Island
Last year: St. Albans, Queens

Shortest Commute
Midtown South/Koreatown, Manhattan
Last year: Financial District, Manhattan

Most Walkable
Chinatown, Financial District, Flatiron, Fulton/Seaport, Gramercy, Greenwich Village,
Little Italy, Midtown, Midtown South/Koreatown, Noho, Nolita, Soho, Turtle Bay (tie)
Last year: Little Italy, Chinatown, NoHo, Flatiron, SoHo, Greenwich Village (tie)

Tottenville, Staten Island
Last year: Tottenville, Staten Island

Most Open Space
Inwood, Manhattan
Last year: Inwood, Manhattan

Renting Is Way Cheaper Than Buying
#1 West Harlem, Manhattan
#2 Greenpoint, Brooklyn
#3 Harlem, Manhattan
#4 Bushwick, Brooklyn
#5 Nolita, Manhattan

Buying Is Way Cheaper Than Renting
#1 Parkchester, Bronx
#2 Fordham, Bronx
#3 Shore Acres, Staten Island
#4 Concourse, Bronx
#5 Port Richmond, Staten Island

II. Everybody Now

Sure there are the five physical boroughs of New York but then there are the boroughs of the mind. Like the Manhattan that ends at 110th street or extends to Marble Hill. Or the Dumbo that, as far as price and walkability go, might as well be in Manhattan. The Sunnyside that might as well be in Brooklyn. The Brownsville that might as well be part of the Bronx.


Vinegar Hill has one restaurant. Roosevelt Island has a one subway station. For where you can walk, those (literal and figurative) islands sure cost a lot of money.

But boy is Mott Haven a bargain.


Reading along the righthand border of the pie slice, you can find the most expensive neighborhoods for each increasing band of commute time:

Tribeca, Civic Center, Battery Park City, Vinegar Hill, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Shore Acres, Hollis, Manhattan Beach, Riverdale

And then, along the left side, their counterparts – the least expensive neighborhoods with the same commutes:

Fulton, Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Town, Prospect Heights, Mott Haven, Bushwick, Brownsville, Morrisania, St. Albans, Arrochar, Todt Hill, Eastchester

And boy is Mott Haven a bargain.


Staten Island and Queens dominate the safest neighborhoods, while upper Manhattan has a lock on neighborhoods with the most open space. Inwood Hill Park alone is 23% of Central Park’s size. And no horses.

But boy is Mott Haven – actually, Mott Haven doesn’t do so well on either of these metrics. You have to make concessions somewhere.

III. Basically Mike Bloomberg and Beyoncé

The Best Neighborhoods If Money Is No Object
#1 Chinatown, Manhattan
#2 Noho, Manhattan
#3 Murray Hill, Manhattan
#4 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#5 Upper West Side, Manhattan
#6 Lower East Side, Manhattan
#7 East Harlem, Manhattan
#8 Harlem, Manhattan
#9 Financial District, Manhattan
#10 Flatiron, Manhattan

Money is an object. Money is all the objects.

IV. The Best Places to Rent

#1 Harlem, Manhattan
#2 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#3 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
#4 Manhattanville, Manhattan
#5 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
#6 Inwood, Manhattan
#7 East Harlem, Manhattan
#8 Ridgewood, Queens
#9 Morningside Heights, Manhattan
#10 Mott Haven, Bronx

Like last year, Upper Manhattan dominates the best neighborhoods to rent, occupying 7 of the top ten slots. The best neighborhood in Staten Island is St. George – #80 of 200 neighborhoods, overall.

V. The Best Places to Buy

#1 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#2 Ridgewood, Queens
#3 Inwood, Manhattan
#4 Concourse, Bronx
#5 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
#6 Harlem, Manhattan
#7 Sunnyside, Queens
#8 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
#9 Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
#10 Borough Park, Brooklyn

The best neighborhoods for buyers this year orbit northern Manhattan and southwest Brooklyn. Bonus points: both areas are elevated, so you’ll still have a place to live when the Red Hook IKEA is ceded to the mer-people. The best neighborhood for renters on Staten Island is the best neighborhood for buyers on Staten Island – St. George, just outside the ferry terminal. Total mer-people potential.

VI. The Worst

Midtown continues to have the high crime rates, low affordability and lack of green space that earned it the lowest spot in last year’s rankings. But this year’s lowest ranked neighborhood succeeds where Midtown fails and fails where it succeeds, boasting New York City’s longest commute times and lowest walkability score.


Breezy Point, Queens is the worst.

It is, however, the best place in New York to be a piping plover.

Rent: Average prices per bedroom, Trulia. Purchase price: Price per square foot, Trulia. Commute: time to Times Square and Wall Street on public transportation, 9am Monday morning, Google Maps. Walkability: Walk Score. Safety: Open space: Department of City Planning. Images: Google Street View.

3 Comments on "The Best Neighborhoods in New York, 2015"

  1. Can you post the software you used to make the cool colored charts, especially the circular one. Tableau, perhaps? Nice work.

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